Severstal lost to Dynamo in Minsk (1: 2), conceding a goal ten minutes before the final siren, and made it difficult for themselves to get into the playoffs. In the remaining 11 matches, the team of Cherepovets should play no worse than the closest pursuers.
This season Dynamo Minsk has become one of Severstal’s main rivals in the playoffs. And as luck would have it, the games against the Belarusians are very difficult for the citizens of Cherepovets and they hardly bring any points. Before the next meeting, Severstal had already played against Dynamo three times this season and were able to win only one victory, and that one in overtime. Moreover, in each of the games the team of Cherepovets could not score more than one goal in regular time. The Minsk team’s gates were enchanted for the fourth time.
The first period turned out to be approximately equal, the teams tried to open an account, but did not forget about defense. In the second 20-minute, the hosts, who were playing with the support of three thousand fans, added in attack and opened the score, realizing the majority. The Cherepovites spent half the period in the minority, having picked up five (!) Penalties, and it was a miracle that they were able to keep the loss with a minimal score.
The third period began with the removal of a Dynamo player, which Severstal brilliantly used. The attack was fast and beautiful. Taking advantage of the fact that there are more players, the Cherepovets confused the rival with passes, and the Swedish striker Jakub Berglund threw powerfully into the top corner – 1: 1.
Severstal tried to play strictly and with discipline and managed to avoid sending off. But in the 50th minute, Dynamo Minsk organized a goal in a counterattack, which was victorious. Forward Shane Prince flew into Severstal’s zone, but did not move closer, but threw from the flank from under the Cherepovets defender. Goalkeeper Vladislav Podyapolsky did not see the throw, the puck flew into the upper corner of the goal. The assault in the end improved Severstal’s statistics, but did not bring any points.
The young forward of our team Nikita Guslistov, who instantly became famous throughout the country and was named the best rookie of the week in the KHL thanks to a hat-trick in the last match, went on the ice in the third line. The eyes of the audience and the press were fixed on the 18-year-old striker, but he could not shine in the second match in a row. He threw on goal, but the clicks did not reach the goal.
« A very good game, » said the head coach of Severstal Andrey Razin after the meeting. – Maybe it’s not yet the playoffs in terms of heat, but somewhere nearby. The teams played strictly and disciplined. We looked no worse than Dynamo, but the victory went to them. «
« The game was exactly what I expected, a lot of power struggle, » replied Dynamo mentor Craig Woodcroft. – The match was like chess. All the components of our game were good. The attack played well, the defense, the goalkeeper and the special teams showed themselves great. Every game we play now is like a war. The next match will be exactly the same war as today. I already told the guys not to be in the clouds. «
“We have a lot of chances, but we score a little,” Vladislav Kodola, forward of Severstal and the national team of Belarus, commented on the game. – It’s a shame that we lost, we will move on, there are important games ahead. It is necessary to go to every match as to the last. I am not upset that I cannot score in the matches against Dynamo Minsk. The main thing is the team result. «
What does Severstal need to do to get into the top eight, play in the playoffs and extend the season into spring? Jump over your head or take your points without losing to outsiders and middle peasants? Let’s figure it out.
Now Severstal is in seventh place, Vityaz and Spartak are just two points behind our team, while Cherepovets have a real chance to catch up with Jokerit and Dynamo Minsk. All but one will be in the playoffs. In order not to become superfluous, the named teams will fight in the last month.
One can, of course, hope that one of the teams will not withstand the final stress and will be blown away, but, according to the proverb, it would be better not to make a mistake ourselves. In addition, if the game goes on, you can swing not to 8th place, but higher. Once in seventh or eighth, Severstal will go to CSKA or SKA in the first round, which is practically a certain elimination. The sixth line will give Lokomotiv or Moscow Dynamo to opponents in the starting round, with which you can fight.
In the last month, the main thing is what is the calendar of the teams fighting for the playoffs. At Severstal it is not easy, but you cannot call it publishing either. Cherepovites will finish January with away meetings with SKA St. Petersburg (0) and Dynamo Riga (0). In the remaining month, Severstal has six home games and five away games – a slight but advantage. Moreover, there is a chance that meetings on their own ice will be held in the presence of fans in the stands.
With whom do we play on the road besides the listed ones? On February 9, Severstal will meet in Helsinki with Jokerit (0), a playoff rival, and at the end of winter will play with two conferences outsiders Neftekhimik (0) and Sochi (0).
Opponents in home games are much more formidable – two meetings with Lokomotiv (0), games with CSKA (0) and Moscow Dynamo (0). One of the main meetings of the end of the season will not have to wait long – on February 5, Spartak Moscow (0) will arrive in Cherepovets, and this meeting can solve a lot. Home games will be shown live by KANAL 12 (12) and Russian North (12).
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